You're going to hear a lot of crazy talk about Connor Barwin wanting to sign with the New England Patriots as free agency approaches on March 12. The 26 year-old outside linebacker recently said in a radio interview (which is available for you to listen to in that first link above) that it "would be nice" to play for the Patriots. These comments are especially stinging to us Texans fans who are still smarting from the one-sided playoff loss suffered to the Patriots this past season. Losing Barwin to them would be a dash of salt on those wounds. Barwin also said he'd even play for the rival Indianapolis Colts, depending on "a couple different things," though he admitted it would be difficult.
However, his comments are more indicative of his desire to play for a winning team, including his statement that he would take less money to do so. A team with an "established quarterback" and a winning history are important to Barwin, who summed it up like this: "If you're not winning, it's not that much fun."
I believe Barwin; how could I not after reading this? The Texans certainly meet his criteria, but will their offer be enough? Sadly, probably not, in this writer's opinion. I think Barwin will have tons of fun winning on another team and will have even more fun counting the money the Texans could not afford to pay him. Such is life in free agency. Under the NFL's salary cap, good teams are forced to lose good players.
Most importantly to me, Barwin spoke about the late season collapse that cost the Texans the AFC's #1 seed in the 2012 NFL Playoffs. He was critical of himself but also pointed to a "mental lapse" and a need for "better leadership" as causes for the 1-3 finish to their season. Indeed, it seemed that the whole team forgot that just ONE victory over the Vikings or Colts would have secured them home field advantage and a first round bye in the AFC Playoffs.
It makes me wonder: Was Barwin talking about internal leadership amongst the players? Or did the coaching staff fail in keeping the players focused? Perhaps a mixture of both.
It's an interesting question to mull over. What say you?